posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 05:40 PM
What is ethanol?
Ethanol is basically a grain alcohol used for beverages and fuel. It is also called ethyl
alcohol or drinking alcohol. What most people don’t know is that ethanol is used as a solvent intended for human contact or consumption. Ethanol
burns cleanly and has a long history of being used as fuel. In fact, ethanol is what Henry Ford’s Model T vehicle ran on.
People in the Midwest have been making ethanol for a long time because of easy access to the ingredients they need to make it. Sugar ethanol is also
easy to make. It was not uncommon for people to have homemade distilleries used to make what was once called moonshine or white lightning.
There are two types of ethanol. What is known as denatured alcohol is actually pure ethanol. There is also absolute ethanol which is generally
purified ethanol containing no more than one percent water. Absolute ethanol was first obtained in 1706 when Johann Tobias filtered distilled ethanol
Besides being used as fuel and in alcoholic beverages, ethanol is also used in medical wipes and most common antibacterial hand sanitizer gels.
Ethanol is effective against most bacteria, fungi and many viruses, but is ineffective against bacterial spores.
Ethanol is also sometimes used as an antidote for methanol poisoning and ethylene glycol poisoning, despite ethanol’s own toxicity at high doses.
Since ethanol makes a good solvent, it is what most manufacturers used to make perfumes, paints and tinctures.
Pure ethanol is tasteless and odorless. Pure or highly concentrated ethanol may bring about permanent damage to living tissue on contact. It also
cools unbroken skin because of its rapid evaporation. Ethanol is also a known depressant and is considered to be a drug. Death from ethyl alcohol
poisoning is possible when the blood alcohol level reaches at least 0.4%. The use of ethanol is prohibited if the person is also barbiturates,
benzodiazepines, narcotics, or phenothiazines. Ethanol is not a known carcinogen, but can aggravate existing cancer conditions